Shore's Commandments for Successful Strategic Marketing
Successful marketing is first a state of mind,then a state of action.
Janus, the two-faced Roman god of beginnings, simultaneously gazed at the past and the future. The end of the year is an ideal time to be inspired by Janus, and to look back over the milestones of the past year while planning the path for the year ahead.
In looking back over the past year, managers of continuing professional education programs are legitimately concerned with a wide range of challenges, from stagnant numbers to delayed responses to increasing costs. Looking forward, we must realize that if we always do what we have always done, then at best, we can only expect to get what we have always gotten.
The beginnings of a new year afford us the opportunity to start fresh, to embrace change, and to look forward. Often, we make New Year's resolutions to establish goals for ourselves and our programs. If you are at a loss for New Year's resolutions as they relate to your professional life, consider converting my commandments of strategic marketing.
Don't Cherry Pick One word of caution however: don't "cherry pick" your resolutions. Take the whole basket. The resolutions complement each other, so working toward one goal will also help you keep the others.
Also, since our enterprise is a group endeavor, you might consider sharing the following list as commandments or resolutions with the entire program staff. After all, those who don't comply with the commandments/resolutions can make life hell for the rest of us, but the sinners can be saved. Every year, CPE providers forget, ignore, or--worse yet--sabotage their programs by not knowing or not following key tenets of successful marketing.
At left are what I believe are 18 central principles of effective strategic marketing (state of mind). In a future column I will present principles for effective tactical marketing (state of action).
May these Commandments make you resolute in the New Year!*
1. Thou shall create a unique selling proposition.
2. Thou shall never be perceived as a commodity.
3. Thou shall be a brand maker not a program or product maker.
4. Thou shall shun deja vu.
5. Thou shall know thy competition.
6. Thou shall know thy customer.
7. Thou shall let thy customers be thy consultants.
8. Thou shall identify and satisfy.
9. Thou shall no longer believe if you build it they will come.
10. Thou shall be top-of-mind with your customers.
11. Thou shall always explore additional channels of distribution.
12. Thou shall go niche-hunting.
13. Thou shall not highlight everything lest you highlight nothing.
14. Thou shall never build the doghouse until seeing what the puppy looks like.
15. Thou shall make the right offer to the right people at the right time.
16. Thou shall strive to think big, act big, and look big.
17. Thou shall make big promises and deliver.
18. Thou shall test from time to time.